Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Now & Later

Inside and outside, we've been tackling tasks, and chores, like repairing the farm fence, and thinning the bamboo. Bambi and Alex did a lot of sorting and reconfiguring the room we call The Lab. It looks great in there. Some day I hope William will approve me sharing pictures of his bedroom. He has transformed it, with paint, architectural details, and rearranging everything. It feels like a destination, in our own home, and going in is like visiting a museum exhibition, or the set of a very compelling drama. He has curated a fine assortment of extraordinary things.

I keep staring at our calendar. Probably too much. At least I alternate, and go from staring at the calendar to staring at the map. I love reading maps, the paper ones. Lately I am appreciating that the online kind of maps are kind of spectacular, too. I keep finding obsucre spaces, sources, links, brilliant details that lead to fascinating articles, and books I mentally jot down... Oh, I should read that. I am making plans, and also living in a limbo. More like standing in the doorway, where I want to leave the room I have been haunting for 18 months, but the next room feels a little too wide open, inviting, and compelling, to be sure, but the crowds and bright lights, the chance that I won't find room to stand, makes me hesitant.
This week I was invited to a backyard tea. I almost walked into the wrong house, even as I was questioning odd details of what should have been a totally recognizable and familiar house, and before I knocked on the neighbor's door, it finally struck me This doesn't look like Diana's house, because it isn't Diana's house. Evidentally coming out of isolation can be as awkward and unsettling as it was going in. Of course, I needn't have been so nervous, fumbling with my stuff, second guessing everything. After half a minute I was settled in and back to laughing and talking with a very good friend, enjoying the yummy things she'd prepared. They're getting ready to re-landscape their backyard. Lucas and Eric were home. Charles came back from the beach, reporting about the fine day, and he shared produce from their garden. We talked about Wisconsin, and free-cycling finds, and e-bikes. It was all so normal. So wonderfully normal.
This is a dragon tree. We have two. I call them Geoff's dragon trees. As in, "Geoff, I think it's time to plant your dragon trees." And yesterday, "Geoff, you gotta take a look at your dragon tree. It's blooming! That has to be rare. We've had those for at least ten years and I've never seen them bloom." They are the only plants I have ever known Geoff to observe, admire, and then purchase. He loves plants, trees, gardens, but it's something he leaves to me when it comes to aquiring, and that's fine... lucky me! I love that the dragon trees are his. I loved the time in his work when he was doing all of the tree graphics for Autodesk 3D Studio Max, and our home, and his thoughts, filled up with talks, books, and reference material for all things trees!

There are a few things on the calendar, which I find comforting and not. I really want to make plans. I want to have a party for apple picking, movie nights, a maker gathering. I want to go to the Zoo, and kayak, and stargaze. But the transition, the uncertainty of what or how to resume that Normal is not so easy. I always regret not making plans, like when it's mid-August, and we've spent endless days not doing much, and resenting the crowds, because we didn't make our own reservations, take our own adventures. But I am having such a hard time launching, initiating even basic things. This week, for instance, is half over and we haven't done any of the things I kept anticipating. I am pretty sure the good van needs to see the mechanic, which is a real stinko, because that will probably be something that will eat up the last half of the free week. Am I whining? Sorry.

One big thing on the calendar: I am driving to Oregon. It's a fact, that I am stating to reinforce my committment to both a compelling and an overwhelming plan. I will have the company of William and Maria. We will be in a rental vehicle. I've made every single reservation for accomodations, and located every reliable public restroom between here and there, with exits and open hours. I have researched the make and model of three categories of rental vehicles and changed my choices twice three times since Friday. I have five, full, pages of detailed notes, ideas, lists, and confirmation numbers, handwritten, and transcribed to our shared calendars. I will probably rewrite them in small print in one of my favored, little Scout books (not a paid endoresment, but they should contact me. I am a devotee.) I am planning, over-planning, drafting, arranging, and applying so much forethought that my muscles ache, my brain is steeped in numbers, in holding the details of travel, safety, possiblities, and hope. It's always been something I do, and enjoy... making travel plans, getting down the particulars that might help in any contingency. But I am almost certainly over doing it now, like with my driving vigilence, I feel stretched thin, anxious, for being so mindful about every real and imagined scenario. This will be my first roadtrip since the thing, and post-mid-pandemic. What? Am I nutz? I thought writing this down would help get things in perspective, relieve some of my angst, but I may just be cataloging what makes this whole plan out of reach.



Right now, I am going to clean off our picnic table. Later, I am going to roast some tomatoes. And much later, I will be driving, one day at a time, North, and it will all be fine, lovely in fact, and when I drive home I will be full of new stories, inspiration, and confidence.

Can you hear my soothing tone, my inner-wisdom voice? I am channeling all that, and aiming for philosophical and chill. Lotus position. Chamomile tea. A compilation of every therapy affirmation and mind-wellness saying is raining down on my head, like word pot-pourri... it's well intentioned, and practically useless. Should I count sheep? No? Logging off, now.


Gretchen Joanna said...

I am so happy for you, that you are bravely planning a trip! I can imagine how scary it is. Sometimes when I am on the highway it dawns on me that half the drivers probably didn't get enough sleep for weeks, or are on drugs, or had a fight with a significant other just before getting on the road. Then I am astounded that we ever manage to go anywhere without crashing. I say this in all seriousness, it has to be that angels are thickly positioned over the roadways and our cars.

I have loved the road trips I've taken since my husband died, but I haven't done any extended ones in three years. Will I ever drive around the Southwest for three weeks, visiting friends and family and stopping in between at Airbnb's *all by myself*? I have a few different excursions outlined in my mind, but most of the time they appear pretty fantastical. Maybe next year...

Gretchen Joanna said...

I had never heard of Scout Books but I just looked them up and WOW! They seem like something I could enjoy and get hooked on. Thanks for the tip. I'm not sure yet just how they work but I will keep researching. <3

Janece said...

Oregon!!! I'm so excited for you!!! <3 This is going to be sooo very good. And with the best company - the oldest and the youngest, something poetic about that. :)

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Gretchen Joanna,
It does feel like it falls in the category of "brave." And I am still on the verge of cancelling my plans... about every twelve hours I panic and question everything, then sleep, and resolve to have courage, and plan further, which is almost absurd, because it's all very very planned... except we can't plan for those sleepy, inebriated, distracted drivers, can we? *sigh*
Oh! I love the road trips in my mind, outlining them, seeing the stops and possibilities almost as clearly as if they are memories. You traveled 3 weeks, alone? Brave you! I am glad William and Maria don't mind me recruiting them, because I will love their company. But, maybe I should muster further courage and try a solo venture! Keep planning, and I think that one of your imaginings will be too good, too fantastical, to resist, and you will make a real excursion of it! I will cheer for you, and happily, virtually, follow along.
I was fortunate to receive some Scout Books as a gift, then found more at a second hand shop. Sometimes I will find them in gift shops, book stores. As we venture back out into the world, I think you will suddenly come upon some! I like that they are small and travel easily, and then I don't feel like I have a massive journal to fill. I can jot down notes, record facts, like an address, or confirmation number, or save some stickers. I like to keep one with me when I travel, along with a fine point pen and a little spool of washi tape.